A message in our culture tells us after 50 it’s all downhill and people too easily give in to that notion.
The truth is we don’t have to give in and in fact if we take on the challenge we can slow cellular aging. Current research is saying that if you work with biology doing some common sense behaviors, you can beat the odds. All it takes is a little effort. I say jokingly to patients that exercising more in middle age keeps us out of trouble but it turns out that is, literally, true.
Moving beyond your comfort zone is an anti-aging strategy that is even more important as we get older, and starting in middle age, before we hit our 60’s and 70’s sets us up for greater success. What follows is some info I’ve put together that will explain how.
A recent study published in the EMBO Journal (European Molecular Biology Organization) gives new hope to all who strive to beat the odds and stay strong and healthy for all of our days.
This study essentially confirms that “No Pain, No Gain” is kind of true: challenge the body with increased activity and the result will be longer, stronger muscles and improved fitness. They found the body’s sympathetic nervous system responded to increased exercise with increased repair mechanisms that are longer lasting to make more muscle now, resulting in increased physical performance overall.
The trick is you have to move beyond your comfort zone, so if you’re used to sitting a lot, you have to make a conscious effort to move – just a little bit, 10 minutes walk per day to start, for example. If you’re already fit or on your way to being fit, you can increase your distance or intensity of any given activity.
The main thing is to be aware that you can make a difference by challenging yourself.
Couple this with exercise science research on aging, and we now have some clear direction for anti-aging exercise. Theories are being tested as to how and why, but it seems resistance training in particular is a good way to turn back the clock, not just help you tread water.
Right now, exercise science has established that our bodies respond to challenging exercise in a way that encourages longevity in our muscles, giving us the opportunity to give us a fighting chance to resist that natural aging process.
Taking care of yourself on the inside matters just as much. That’s why we encourage all patients to write a one-week food diary. Most people find this an interesting peek at themselves and come back open to suggestions.
We follow a very middle-of-the-road, moderate diet established after years of study and trial and error.
In addition to diet, exercise, nutritional medicine, having a good attitude, engaging with good people, and using healing modalities regularly is the practical way to stay in good health and ahead of the curve. Of course, we advocate for acupuncture for it’s positive effects on multiple systems in the body, but whatever works for you, keep at it. Try many modalities to see which works best for you, but the point is: get treated! Whichever you choose, the benchmark is it should increase your energy, calm your mind, and relax your body.
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